Play therapy has been increasingly practiced around the world with the understanding of “play” as a child’s primary medium of expression. This therapy revolves around the learning and understanding of the child’s emotions, how they handle it, as well as enable adults to grasp a better sense of their emotions and recognise emoted actions. Picking up these prime trigger areas, could be helpful in supporting a child during his or her development.
The acknowledgement of their emotions and their ability to express them, helps in building confidence as they get to know themselves better, and may eventually learn to manage them better.
Here are some good-to-knows of how it could aid a child’s emotional growth.
WHAT is it?
Play therapy involves a stimulated “free play” session that allows the child to independently engage with toys within a private corner or space. Play materials are specifically chosen to help the child emote a wide range of emotions. With an array of play materials – play/toys that encourages nurturing – helps engage a child’s cognitive and intellectual senses, while other materials could serve as an outlet for frustration. Different play materials are catered to areas the child is struggling with.
WHO is it for?
Preferably, for children of age three to 12 that show signs of emotional, social or behavioural problems. Children struggling with emotional literacy/ expressing themselves may also benefit from this therapy.
WHY should it be considered?
The undeveloped communicative and comprehensive skills of kids, make it difficult for them to express emotions verbally or through actions despite feeling the heat of it. A prolonged period of bottling negative emotions with the inability to express, may affect the emotional and mental growth of the child in the long run.
WHEN should play therapy be considered?
Play therapy could be introduced when the child starts to show signs of struggle to cope with their emotions. Some of the telltale signs could include – becoming more withdrawn, showing traces of anxiety, or display socially inappropriate behavior while interacting with their peers – without the ability to convey nor explain their actions verbally.
HOW will play therapy help?
Through this therapy, it aims to aid the development a child’s self-conceptualization, a positive image, or even as an outlet to release frustration. It enables the child to address his/her emotions through the expression of play, with the acknowledgement and better understanding the emotions related.
This is especially useful after a traumatic or big change that might have caused huge emotional distress for the child. “Play” as their emotional expression should be encouraged, instead of bottling up the emotions they do not understand.
WHERE to seek advice?
231 Mountbatten Road,
Block A, #03-04
46 East Coast Road
#09-03 Eastgate (Katong)
#07-05/06, The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, 287994